I FOUND LIVING WATER
Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again.[a] The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” – John 4:13-14
I was raised in a loving Christian family. We went to church regularly, held bible studies at our home, and at times my dad was the leader of our church. As a child, we were all about God, and life was good. My expectation was to be walking to elementary school one day and be lifted up to heaven.
Well – that glorious dream didn’t happen, and instead – my dad, our church leader, fell down a slippery slope more than once … each time temporarily drawing my family away from the church.
Just before my senior year of high school my parents got divorced and church became a thing of the past for all of us. At one point, I did put forth a unfaithful attempt to ask God into my heart, but this did not lead to any of God’s grace, mercy or peace.
Through most of high school, I turned away from the right path and indulged in sex, drugs, and rock and roll. College came, and as an engineering student, I continued heading in the wrong direction. Living to feel good was my belief system and instead of church I was practicing drinking, smoking pot, hallucinogenic drugs, partying, dancing, and chasing women. I was a regular party guy who acted as if I was loving the life I was living … but honestly – I never felt truly satisfied, or fully complete, due to “the passing pleasures of sin”.
The highs of life were really high, and the lows were extremely low. This pattern carried on for many years after college. I continued to find myself in and out of relationships, fearful of commitment, generally angry, short tempered, impatient, resentful, judgmental, and a person who could never be told anything.
Meanwhile, I started working out at the gym, which only led to me being prideful, comparing myself to others, and foolishly thinking I looked good. During those times, my mind was extremely perverse. I highly doubted God, due to my unstable spiritual childhood, technical education, overall lack of faith, and because,
“The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.”
1 Corinthians 2:14
2009 found me living with my girlfriend of over four years in our house with her two children, ages six and seven. She was also raised Christian but had not practiced for many years. Our relationship was great up until she realized I wouldn’t commit to marriage. Not knowing for years that this was the main underlying problem, I carried along selfishly and stubbornly, trying to please myself, and constantly complaining about wanting more from her both emotionally and physically.
Every few months we would have a large argument and attempt to fix it with no real gains. This happened over and over. Without putting God first in our life, neither of us were truly happy … and we slowly drifted apart until she completely let go of our relationship. By the time I realized this and attempted to fully commit to her, it was too late.
I found myself driving away from my girlfriend and her children for the last time. Imagine the deep range of emotions I battled: Hurt, sorrow, emptiness, regret, shame, anger, loss, fear, failure, guilt, loneliness, faded dreams! I cried off and on for months.
Thanks to God, my brother and dad had already returned to following the Lord. My dad was desperately trying to get me to do the same. At the very end of my relationship with my girlfriend, we started going to church with my dad as an attempt to mend our relationship. Again – it was too late.
The Sunday after I left my family, I found myself alone at church, crying profusely. The pastor was doing a mini-series called: “Got Dysfunction”. That day’s topic was written for me: Selfishness. I had just spent the last two weeks denying Christ to my dad, and the pastor I was then listening to.
My dad previously told me I was on a path of destruction. The pastor had asked me, “Do you want to stand before God and not be 100% sure of your place in Heaven?” These thoughts were flying through my head, along with all the shame and regret I was feeling, and the thought of getting wasted at a bar the night before. Is this really the life I want? How many more failed relationships will I have?
I praise God for the best thing that ever happened me! I was alone at church – crying profusely. Loneliness, sorrow and guilt surrounded me, bringing me to the lowest point of my life. The pastor then gave an open invitation for anyone interested to pray for a new spiritual birth. I accepted!
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. – 2 Corinthians 5:17
With complete faith, and the true, serious intent of walking with the Lord I got right with God by asking Jesus into my heart to transform me to become that new spiritual creation!
“Truly, truly, I tell you, whoever hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life and will not come under judgment. Indeed, he has crossed over from death to life.” – John 5:24
I now have eternal life. My sins are forgiven, and I have stepped out of my past life.
Although the tears come and go my entire body, soul and spirit started transforming from being a self-centered creation to a God-centered, God-pleasing creation.
Jesus has quenched my spiritual thirst! He is the life-source of spiritual water!
For the first time in life I sense a feeling of completeness – inner contentment – acceptance of God and from God – a new-found joy much of the time – and my desire to sin like before has greatly diminished. (Sure I’ll be tempted to sin, like all Christians experience, but NOW I have God inside me to help resist temptations to sin like I did not have before. What a difference that makes!)
God has given me inner-peace. My days of being high-strung are over. To the glory and giving of thanks to God … I no longer smoke, do drugs or get drunk. Thank you, Lord! Through receiving God’s forgiveness for my sins, I’m inspired to love and forgive others.
In the days following my spiritual conversion, I began going to church each week, praying, reading the Bible, and building a personal relationship with God. He stabilized me and aided me through the loss of my family. My shame and regret are nearly wiped away. If I get sad or lonely, I start praying or singing to God and those feelings pass.
Within weeks, God led me to a new church where the outreach and support was phenomenal. Almost instantly new friends and family surrounded me. God filled me with a passion for Him; began to humble me; began giving me the desire to serve other; and I got more involved with the church.
There is now little time to dwell on the past with so many great things happening in my life. Life is better than ever!